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Could These Be the 5 Most Bizarre Job Interview Questions?

Job interview questions should have only one purpose, and that's to figure out whether or not the candidate is a good fit. Unfortunately, some hiring managers didn't get that particular memo, and take interview questions – particularly behavioral ones – to ridiculous extremes. Think less "Tell me about a time you faced a challenge at work" and more "If you were any object in a kitchen what would you be and why?" Sure, sometimes these questions are a creative way of digging out the interviewee's best and worst qualities, but other times, they're just plain strange. You'd be forgiven for wondering, on the applicant side of the table, if the hiring manager was just messing with you.

Job interview questions should have only one purpose, and that’s to figure out whether or not the candidate is a good fit. Unfortunately, some hiring managers didn’t get that particular memo, and take interview questions – particularly behavioral ones – to ridiculous extremes. Think less “Tell me about a time you faced a challenge at work” and more “If you were any object in a kitchen what would you be and why?” Sure, sometimes these questions are a creative way of digging out the interviewee’s best and worst qualities, but other times, they’re just plain strange. You’d be forgiven for wondering, on the applicant side of the table, if the hiring manager was just messing with you.

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(Photo Credit: e-magic/Flickr)

Take, for example, these oddball attempts at determining problem-solving skills and/or cultural fit:

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1. “Basically, how would you plead for your life?”

“In the late 1990s it was fashionable for HR interviews to include some pretty stupid questions,” writes Lance Walton at Quora. In one job interview, he got four strange questions, including:

“If you were in a hot air balloon with several other people and it developed a puncture and was sinking and going to crash and somebody had to be chucked out to lighten it, how would you convince everybody it shouldn’t be you?”

2. This is only a good question if the job interview takes place at Citi Field.

An anonymous user at Reddit says that he once had the following conversation with a job interviewer:

“Are you a Met’s fan?”

“Is anyone a Met’s fan anymore?”

“I didn’t get the job,” he says.

3. Sometimes, interview questions tell you something about the hiring manager as well. For example, this person is looking forward to happy hour and possibly is also depressed.

Facebook user Diana Salazar tells BuzzFeed that she was once asked the following impossible question:

“You’re trapped in a blender with no equipment … how do you get out?”

4. “Would you be willing to sing for your supper?”

“I was asked to sing a song during one of my interviews for a finance internship at a bulge bracket investment bank,” writes Cheryl Vijjeswarapu at Quora. “It was so weird. Especially because I obliged.”

Vijjeswarapu continues:

“I understand why he asked. It’s because I had mentioned on my resume that I recorded vocals professionally for 12 years at a major record company. I decided to put this on my resume because as a sophomore in college, I didn’t really have that much work experience, and I actually did learn a lot from that which I viewed as ‘transferable’ (for example, time management, working in groups, attention to detail, etc.) and it was a big part of my life.

“The awkward part is that the singing I did professionally was mostly background vocals for Christian kid’s music – not something that I would have guessed would be very entertaining to the general population of investment bankers.

“But yeah, I sang. And then he clapped. Haha. I can only imagine what my fellow interviewees were thinking while sitting in the waiting room outside, if they were able to hear anything. I never talked to any of them about it.”

5. “Go on, sell me something.”

OK, this one isn’t a question, but it is pretty strange.

“I was asked by an employer to sell him a pen, which I wouldn’t have minded had it been an interview for a sales position,” writes an anonymous Redditor. “It was an office admin job.”

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the worst job interview question you’ve ever been asked? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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8 Comments on "Could These Be the 5 Most Bizarre Job Interview Questions?"

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gary
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I was asked in an interview for a lab position to list 10 uses for a brick. My first answer was a weapon, which probably made me look like a mad scientist. Should have said to build stuff. I got the job and later when I resigned the manager sat googling the new interviewees and commenting on their looks etc. He also searches for weird questions to make them feel uncomfortable in the interview coz he likes to see ppl squirm. At least I got the job. 🙂 The moral of the story is that I realised feeling inferior in… Read more »
Cindy
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I was recently asked in an interview how I would compare myself now which im 50 to that when I was a teenager. I’m sure their are things we revert back to the older we get but it did catch me off guard.

BruceP
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I had a very arrogant interviewer ask me why I had chosen such a crappy college to get my engineering degree.

Glad-Ass
Guest
Do you have trouble getting along with people? What was the most exciting and adventurous thing you have ever done? Where are you going when you leave this interview? Was a man after you at your last job? Let’s talk movies. What was your favorite movie and why? After the question (was a man after you…) the female director of the department got up and left the interview like I was not there at all. She did not even answer my question (why did you ask me that?) This was way out of bounds. I contacted the CEO of the… Read more »
Ronald Russo, Esq.
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I was once asked that if I was ever on a deserted island with another person and there was no food available, would I be tempted to kill and eat the the person!!!

Anonymous
Guest

The blender question is missing some elements in this article, but it is legitimate. It has been used by tech companies for years to gauge whether the candidate understands the relationship of energy and mass. It does have a theoretically correct answer!

Anonymous
Guest

A friend of mine was asked at interview what kind of porn he watches. This was an interview for a defence job, however, so perhaps there is some basis for asking such probing questions (e.g. psychological profiling, avoiding blackmailing, keeping secrets, etc.). One does wonder how awkward it must be for those that get the jobs after the employer has asked that question though!

Anonymous
Guest

Sigh, another terrible Payscale clickbait article without any true content. How about doing some research and using actual survey data or expert analysis? Random anecdotes from posters on Reddit and Facebook do not equal useful data worth promoting to your userbase.

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